Two factors are givens when it comes to high school football in Louisiana in October — the weather is cooler and the district matchups are hotter than ever.
Week 6 of the regular season provides a prime example. It starts with two Class 3A powers, second-ranked University (5-0) hosts No. 7 Parkview Baptist (4-1), squaring off in a District 7-3A showdown that also will be Thursday’s New Orleans Saints/Louisiana High School Athletic Association Game of the Week.
UHS won 42-35 during the regular season and 58-23 in the Division II select semifinals last season.
“We both have most of our skill players back, but there also are some younger guys who have five games under their belts,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said. “Parkview presents such a unique challenge because of the option they run. You’ve got to play good assignment football.”
There’s no shortage of other tough assignments and showdowns. There’s even a rare Saturday game with Madison Prep hosting Christian Life at 6:30 p.m. at McKinley High. Other games start at 7 p.m.
District 5-5A play opens with fifth-ranked Catholic High (4-1) hosting St. Amant (3-2) at Memorial Stadium on Friday. A year ago, the Gators beat the Bears 41-14. Catholic then earned a share of the title.
“Our objective right now is to make the Gators don’t beat the Gators,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said. “We’re at a point in our season where we’re probably good enough to beat everybody left on our schedule. Or we could lose to them.
“Every week in our district is going to tough. I know a lot of people like to talk about the backs Catholic has, but I think they’re good all over. It’s an exciting week for us because we have the chance to put ourselves in contention for a district title.”
The St. Amant vs. Catholic game helps highlight a busy Friday schedule that includes Dutchtown (2-3) at Woodlawn (4-1) and East Ascension (3-2) at McKinley (3-2) in 5-5A, along with a couple of intriguing games involving 4-5A and 6-4A teams.
On any other weekend, St. Michael’s 5-0 start, coupled with the Warriors hosting eighth-ranked Lutcher (3-2), might be the biggest news. The 6-4A game set for Louisiana Leadership’s Doug Williams Stadium Friday night is notable. However, fifth-ranked Plaquemine (5-0) traveling to Zachary (4-1) of 4-5A for a nondistrict showdown also should grab plenty of headlines.
Zachary coach David Brewerton likens the challenge of facing the Green Devils to playing against 4-5A rival Scotlandville in some ways.
“Their line may be the biggest we’ll face, and they have a bunch of players with speed,” Brewerton said. “You put that together with the (Wing-T) offense they run and you can have lots of problems.
“Our defense has played very well this year. Just like we did before we faced Scotlandville we’re going to have to work on pursuit angles and making sure we’re where we need to be on every play.”
District 6-2A also has a showdown. East Feliciana (3-2, 2-0) travels to No. 7 Episcopal (4-0, 0-0).
“I don’t know if this one will be as big as the one we had a few years ago with them,” EFHS coach Cedric Anderson said. “But it is a big one for both of us. They’re playing extremely well, and both of us are looking at the possibility of winning a district title.”
Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois added, “It’s also a big game in terms of playoff seeding down the line.”